Category: Underwater Adventure

WE Forgot to Save the Kinghorn

Built by the J.B. Auger & Co. from parts made in Scotland, and launched in 1871 at Montreal, the Kinghorn was named after the manager of the Montreal Transportation Company, located in Kingston, Ontario, since it was built from his design, this barge had an iron frame and wooden planking, the first of its type on the river. The Kinghorn had a capacity of about 20,000 bushels of grain. April 27, 1897, the tug Hiram A Walker under Captain Boyd had seven barges under tow in the American channel near Thousand Island Park. She was caught in a storm losing barges on the south shore and 2 barges at Johnston’s light opposite the park. With four barges left the Walker headed for Grenadier Island where the Captain of the Kinghorn reported his craft leaking badly. The Walker headed for Rockport with the injured barge however lost her 1/2 mile from Rockport in 90 ft. of water, where she was discovered in 1996 by Ronald MacDonald. This wreck has sometimes been confused with the fishing tug Edith Sewell, and the “Rockport wreck.” Located directly in front of the Customs Office at Rockport, this vessel sits in 90 ft. of water in the middle of the small boat shipping channel. This wreck presents an excellent technical dive training opportunity with everything from current to finding bottles. Starting one’s dive from the shore, it takes about 12 minutes to reach the wreck, and you still get approximately 20 minutes to play before reaching deco. If you take the full 20 minutes and swim right back to dock, deco drills can be preformed at 20′ and 15′ stops. This is a local favorite dive.

The Kinghorn was a 130′ barge that was carrying wheat in the 1890s she was a steel hulled with wood planking and is situated just a couple hundred yards from the dock in Rockport, this wreck was refound in 1995 and is the source of much debate, some no longer believe it is really the Kinghorn and thoughts weigh that her true identity is the “Edith Surwell“. Well, at least it was until someone suggested the Surwell (or Cirtwell) was a fishing tug that has yet to be found, and that this particular wreck is the Sophia (which actually lies not far away). Who’s to say until a positive piece of her identifies this shipwreck!

 

The Dive Today –  Need Help to See what’s left of the Kinghorn

This Video was taken 9 years later, note the huge difference we made.

Sitting upright in 88′ this is an aging steel hull with no superstructure. It has several openings on the upper deck (one reportedly from an anchor dropped a little too close to the target) so there is a good deal of light penetration into the hold which can be explored easily provided you have good fining technique (if you don’t you will be in the middle of a silt storm and other divers may finally have a use for the dive knives they have been carrying around for years). The upper deck is collapsing at a steady rate, and any penetration should be done with great caution if at all. Close to the down-line is a “Canadian” toilet, still in relatively good shape
(this item which was clearly not original, has since been removed). Plates and cups are scattered around the upper deck and inside the hold on the stove, many having reportedly been “returned” (read: planted) here (so if you take one thinking you have a genuine artifact, you are most likely sadly mistaken but other divers will take the opportunity to laugh at you, and then turn you over to the local constabularies since removing items from Ontario wrecks is illegal). Don’t miss the ship’s wheel lying on its side on top of the stern, then you can find the windlass, bilge pump, stove and rudder assembly which make for a decent amount to see. The wheel is now devoid of all its wood, but a sizeable portion of the steering gear is still attached and reaches nearly to the bottom of the hull. A small stove what was once on the deck, then in the hold, now appears to be missing entirely.  Back to the mooring line and you will see 2 plaques one for the Kinghorn and one for Doug.

The Blanche

https://www.facebook.com/dellandrea/videos/10158798020680282/

Need Help getting to the Blanche

On 26 May 1888, BLANCHE (2-mast wooden schooner, 95 foot, 92 gross tons, built in 1874, at Mill Point, Ontario) was carrying coal with a crew of five on Lake Ontario. She was lost in a squall somewhere between Oswego, New York and Brighton, Ontario.

 

Not 100 percent proven but local researchers have tentatively named the picton two mastered schooner at N 43’48.303 W 77’03.334 this. 

BLANCHE, Schooner 14 years of age, 92 tons reg. Bound from Brighton to Oswego, disappeared Lake Ontario 1890. Home port, Napanee. 

      Dept. of Marine & Fisheries 

      Statement of Wreck & Casualty, 1890 

      . . . . . 

      BLANCHE, Schooner owned by A. Campbell and belonging to the port of Port Colborne. Became a total loss May 26, 1888. Value of loss $3,500. Tonnage 210 (including cargo) 

      Casualty List for 1888 

      Marine Record 

      January 3, 1889 

      . . . . . 

Fate of the Schooner Blanche

in Lake Ontario

 

[from “The Picton Times” November 10 1932]

 

 

It is going on forty-five years since the Blanche of Colborne, vanished with all hands.  Yet still Cat Hollow men stare hard towards the Scotch Bonnet of moonlight nights, to catch, if may be, the gleam of her bone-white hull under the proud arching of her silver-sable sails.

 

The Bonnet is a little block of an island outside of Nicholson’s off the Prince Edward County shore.  It flashes nightly across the water to the tall lighthouse at Presqu’Ile, where the bay runs up to Brighton and swings east to the Murray Canal, replacing the old Carrying Place, which once afforded access to the Bay of Quinte.  Colborne and Cat Hollow are to the west of the little peninsula which gives Presqu’Ile its name. A famous corner for wrecks, since the government schooner Speedy’s finding of the Devil’s Hitchingpost there in 1804.  The Belle Sheridan’s was another famous wreck near by, eighty years afterwards.  Among them all, the Blanche’s will be remembered long, both from the mystery of it and from the completeness of the tragedy it involved.

 

It was fitting out time, in the spring of 1888, and Captain John Henderson, of the schooner Blanche of Colborne, was outward bound from his winter home in Cat Hollow.  Colborne lies inland from Lake Ontario, a little town of importance, named after the lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, whose name was later tagged on to Gravelly Bay on Lake Erie;  making it Port Colborne, to some confusion with the Ontario place.  From Colborne a road winds down to Cat Hollow, the settlement by the shore, which has since become the village of Lakeport.  Officially vessels from this vicinity hailed from the Port of Cramahe, but Cramahe or Cramha was only the Highland name for the township.  Harbor there was none.  Once they had to scuttle the Katie Eccles where she lay loading at the pier there, to save her from pounding to pieces in a westerly.  Schooners did a brisk trade in grain and lumber from the two wharves and storehouses at Cat Hollow, but they wintered in Cobourg or Brighton, sheltered in the Bay of Presqu’Ile.

 

Captain Henderson’s bag and his seaboots and oilskins had gone on before, and he was striding uphill through the thawing slush to meet the Brighton stage.  This would carry him to where the Blanche lay, shimmering in her new white paint, at her winter quarters in Presqu’Ile Bay, eight miles away.

 

At the hill crest, Captain Henderson turned.  He untied a parcel he had held tightly in his young brown fist.  A pair of heavy woollen socks sprang from the released covering.  They were gay and hand-knitted;  sailors’ socks, the kind that keep sea boots from “drawing the feet.”  He whirled them high above his head.

 

“Good-bye, mother, good-bye!” he called, in a voice of spring gladness matching the cheery chirrup of the roadside robins.

 

At a door down in the Hollow a grey haired woman waved a freshly ironed apron of pink and white checks.  Tears brimmed her eyes.  Captain Henderson could not see them.  But he could see, or believed he saw, the glad smile behind them.  A sailor’s eyes are keen.  A lover’s eyes see farther.  Johnnie Henderson was a good sailor and a loving son.

 

Then he went over the hilltop and out of his mother’s sight, and out of the ken of the small boy who passed him, whistling.  It is from him comes this tale, forty-four years afterwards.  He is Harold Batty, and he helps get out the Port Hope Guide.  The facts are his.  Whose the telling does not matter.

 

Two months later, Captain Tom Matthews was swinging down the lake in the old black-and-green schooner then in her prime.  Older Toronto folk may remember her when she used to bring stone for the cribs of the Eastern Gap, in the 90’s, when Captain “Mack” Shaw had her.  Younger Toronto folk may remember her putting in here in distress one August day in 1906, when she was on her very last legs.  Her sheer was humped then, and her mastheads sprung and she had a permanent reef in her much patched mainsail.  She had been to Charlotte with a load of cedar posts, and ran for shelter here in the light half of a summer gale, with eighteen inches of water in her hold and her crew in despair.  She was owned then in South Bay, and after she limped away for home with moderating weather no one on the waterfront here knew what became of her.

 

In 1888, however, the Fleetwing was still a good vessel, and her master was proud of her.  Captain Matthews was Harold Batty’s uncle.  Mrs. Matthews, Harold Batty’s aunt, was the cook of the Fleetwing.  Captain Matthews had with him as mate, James Henderson of Cat Hollow, a brother of Captain John, of the Blanche.  Jim Henderson later became Captain of the steamer Macassa and carried thousands of Toronto and Hamilton passengers between those two ports.  Poor Jimmy is no more now, and his well-known command went to the bottom of Georgian Bay two or three years ago under the name of Manasoo.

 

At midnight on May 27th, Captain Matthews was called to relieve the mate, it being the custom in lake schooners for the captain to stand watch at night.  In salt water ships, the second mate does this work for the Old Man, and the latter only turns out when he feels like it – which is pretty often.

 

Captain Matthews glanced at the barometer and it seemed to him the glass had dropped materially since he had gone below.  He emerged to find a perfect moonlight night with a fine steady breeze blowing and the schooner gushing along quietly in smooth water.  The Scotch Bonnet was winking away in the moonlight bearing north-north-west, about five miles distant.

 

“I haven’t been drinking, Jimmy, but my eyes must be playing tricks on me,” said Captain Matthews to his mate, as the latter prepared to go below.  “I thought the glass was away down, but I come up to as fine a night as man ever set eyes on.  Wait a minute till I have another look at her.”

 

He popped into the cabin.  The glass was assuredly “down.”  The mercury had sunk even while he was talking.

 

He emerged in a moment.  All hands were now on deck, standing by for the order “Go below, the port watch.”

 

“Get the gaff topsails and jibtop sail off her,” shouted the master to the waiting mate.  “Haul the flying jib down too, and we’ll reef the mainsail!”

 

“What’s wrong, captain?” asked the mate, amazed.

 

“Plenty,”  said Captain Matthews.  “The glass is down all right, as if the bottom had dropped out of it, and I never knew her to fool me yet.”

 

With a rattle of complaining blocks, hoops and downhauls the light sails were clewed up and furled, and the main sheet was hauled aft for reefing the mainsail, when a vessel hove in sight.

 

“It’s Johnny, in the Blanche.  He’s got a load of screenings from Oswego for Brighton,” commented Mate Henderson.

 

“He may make it before anything hits him,” agreed Captain Matthews,  “Two hours will about put him inside Presqu’Ile Light.  Look at him come!”

 

The Blanche was booming along, her sails sharp black and white in the moonlight, wing-and-wing with the breeze, a white roll of foam sparkling like diamonds before her white bows.  She had a saucy sheer, and she swam towards them like a snowy swan in a hurry.

 

Captain Matthews hailed, “This is a fine night, Johnny!”

 

“Yes,” hailed back Captain Henderson, “It’s a dandy.  We’re making hay while the moon shines.  Is everybody all right?”

 

He could not understand the Fleetwing shortening down in such fine weather.  His question showed it.  Capt. Matthews called something about the glass having dropped suddenly.  Captain Henderson, now almost beyond earshot, hailed back.  “Goodnight Tom!  Goodnight Jimmy!”  and vanished from sight and hearing.

 

Half an hour later the squall struck without notice form the northwest.  It was a gagger.  The Fleetwing was not a stiff vessel.  She was a shoal American bottom, built at Wilson, N.Y., near Niagara. In 1863, for Captain Quick, and she capsized and drowned her crew while he had her.  After that she had her masts shortened, and passed into Canadian ownership.

 

She rolled down under this squall till they thought they’d lose her, although she was already shortened to the reefed mainsail, foresail, and staysail.  She came through safely.  The same squall must have caught the Blanche with every stitch set, her boom guyed out to the soft southerly “feeder” that was bringing on this tiger out of the north west. It must have driven her clean under for nothing was ever seen of her or her crew after she passed the Fleetwing.

 

Months afterwards the lake gave up one body.  It had been battered by so many weeks of tossing that it was quite unrecognizable.  Even the clothing had been torn from it.  All except the boots and socks on the swollen feet.

 

They brought the pitiful pieces of knitting to a grey-haired woman in Cat Hollow.  She dried her hands on a pink-and-white checked apron before putting on her glasses.  The pink-and-white checked apron had faded with many washings since fitting out time in the spring.  So too had the grey-haired woman’s eyes, since Captain John Henderson passed over the hill.

 

She looked at the socks and her fingers shook as she held them.

 

“Yes,” said she, “it must be Johnny,  I knit them.”

 

One tombstone in Lakeport, gives the names of all the village sailors lost in the Blanche.  They are:

 

Captain John H. Henderson, William Seed, mate,  Wm. E. Haynes, before the mast, Annie Smith, cook.

 

The other man before the mast was William Auckland.  He came from Trenton, on the Bay of Quinte

Kingston, June 9. — The schooner BLANCHE of Oswego has not been heard from and fears are entertained that she has foundered. 

      Port Huron Daily Times 

      Saturday, June 9, 1888 

      

      . . . . . 

      Toronto, June 30 — A portion of a wreck, supposed to be a part of the lost schooner BLANCHE, has been picked up on the beach between Wellington and West Lake Pt. Capt. Matthews of the PARTHENON secured the portion of the wreck. The captain knew the missing BLANCHE well, having sailed her for some time. His theory of the disaster is that, with all sails set in a squall, she plunged headlong into the deep. He is of the opinion that the piece of wreckage secured is a portion of the missing BLANCHE. 

[The BLANCHE is owned by A. Campbell of Port Colborne, and loaded with coal at Oswego on Monday, May 26. She left the same evening for Brighton, Ont. and is believed to have been lost in a squall which came up that night. John Henderson of Port Colbrone was the master, with a crew composed of a mate, 2 sailors and a woman cook. – Ed. Free Press] 

      Detroit Free Press 

      July 1, 1888 

Schooner BLANCHE. Official Canada No. 71061. Of 92 tons register. Built Mill Point, Ont., 1874. Home port, Port Colborne, Ont. 82.5 x 21.0 x 7.4 Owned by A. Campbell of Port Colborne, Ont. 

      List of Vessels on the Registry Books of the 

      Dominion of Canada on December 31,1886

Schooner BLANCHE, ashore near Cobourg. November 1880. Got off. 

      Toronto Globe (1880 Casualty List) 

      November 30, 1880 

      . . . . . 

      Schooner BLANCHE, of 6 years old and 92 tons reg. Port of hail, Napanee. Bound from Cobourg to Oswego, became a partial casualty in Cobourg Harbour, November 7, 1880. Damage to hull $1,500. No loss to cargo. 

      Statement of Wreck & Casualty, 1880 

      Department of Marine & Fisheries 

      Sessional Papers (No. 11) A. 1881 

Schooner BLANCHE. Official Canada No. 71061. Of 92 tons register. Built Mill Point, Ont., 1874. Home port, Port Colborne, Ont. 82.5 x 21.0 x 7.4 Owned by A. Campbell of Port Colborne, Ont. 

      List of Vessels on the Registry Books of the 

      Dominion of Canada on December 31,1886 

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Categories: Underwater Adventure

George A Marsh

KEY STATS:
Ship Type: Three Masted Schooner
Lifespan: Built 1882, Sunk 1917
Length: 135ft
Depths: 80ft
Location: Amherst Island, Ontario, Canada
GPS N44.07.55 W76.36.16

Need Help to see the Marsh


This beautiful schooner was built in 1882 by Footlanders at the Muskegon, Michigan, USA, shipyard, After service under the American flag, she was purchased by J.B. Flint, of Belleville, Ontario and given Canadian registration. On a sunny and calm day, August 8, 1914, she set sail from Oswego, New York, loaded with 450 tons of coal destined for Rockwood Hospital, Kingston, Ontario. On board were 14 souls: Captain Smith, his second wife, five of their seven children; the mate William Watkins; the Captain’s brother, William Smith; Neil McLennon, a deck hand, with his wife, their eighteen-month-old baby, and a nephew

A violent storm came up and battered her loaded hull, until her seams gave way and her pumps gave out. William Smith and Neil McLennan, with babe in arms, managed to get to the ship’s yawl and make their way to Amherst Island. The baby succumbed to the cold. All told, 12 souls where lost that day to the fury of the Lake Ontario. Several dead were recovered and the rest remain buried beside the wreck

Overhead View of the Marsh, Done by TEST

The history of this wreck only adds to the beauty and mystery of the schooner as the diver makes their way down the line to the mooring block. Visibility on this wreck of 135 ft (41.5m) is often 20 to 40 ft (6-12m); more in the spring and fall. Temperatures range from low 40’s (Fahrenheit) in spring to low 60’s in the summer (5-18 Celsius).

One of the most striking features of this wreck is her ghostly shape, sitting upright as if ready to set sail. Her bow sprint remains intact, with the ropes hanging down and off the sides. Her rigging – deadeyes, belaying pins and blocks – lays about the deck. Masts are off the side and wheel and steering gear are still in place, as are the capstan and anchor winch.

This wreck remains a personal favorite of most; she is captivating in her beauty and a haunting memorial to the 12 souls lost on her. She is best enjoyed using good buoyancy skills as she has a layer of silt covering her. Penetration is minimal due to the full load of coal in her holds. There is no current on this wreck and of concern are only bottom time and air consumption because of her depth. This pearl is sure to be a lasting memory to all that enjoy her splendor. A handy Flyer for the Marsh

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Categories: Underwater Adventure

New Wreck in Kingston

Nothing but the lure of adventure when a new wreck gets discovered and opened up.  Most of the time “New” wrecks are opened by the second finder and the Eureka is no different.  Imagine an Organization that prohibits wreck raping and practices conservation to Preserve those underwater time capsules that let us look into the past.  They fully support members raping wrecks and when questioned it’s alway, ‘Yeah we know but it’s individuals in the organization not the organization itself, So your so desperate for help you allow wreck rapers to become active members.  Why?  So when you live by the sword you get to die by the sword, and it’s no different yet again.  This video is linked from Facebook, So contact me or call the operators in Kingston and get booked for this adventure.

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Categories: Underwater Adventure